‘We’re Not Going to Know Who the President Is Until Well Into November.’ These Are the Scenarios Worrying Election Officials

TIME magazine, June 2020.

The National Association of Secretaries of State elections committee has been holding a weekly call to swap information on preparing for an unprecedented election. There are hundreds (thousands!) of ways an election can go awry anyway, but the coronavirus pandemic has complicated preparations. It’s not just the intake of absentee ballots that’s worrying officials like Wyman. The pandemic has brought up a range of new issues, from determining whether coronavirus is a valid reason voters can cite to request an absentee ballot to recruiting poll workers to ensuring there are enough financial resources to make the necessary adaptations.

Nothing less is at stake than the integrity of America’s elections and voters’ faith in the process. And it’s a race against time for states to pull it off. “You asked me what keeps me up at night,” Wyman says. “This is it.” 

TIME interviewed nine secretaries of state from both parties. Here are their top concerns.